Install notes for Ironman bullbar on a 2008 LX (1 Viewer)

tbisaacs

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
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Over two weekends I installed an Ironman bullbar on my 2008 LX. Documenting some tips for future installers. Note — not a step by step how to.

Ordering:
Couldn't be easier. I ordered on a Monday, by the end of they day Ironman called me with a bumper ready—it was ready for pickup at my local freight terminal. Ironman is running a special right now that includes a pair of 7" "Blast II" lights — they are really nice. The bumper arrives on a 7ft narrow pallet:

IMG_0180.jpeg


This thing is ridiculously well padded. It took me almost an hour to get everything off - and probably 4 bags of packing to get recycled. Aside from the bullbar, your pallet includes
  • A pair of driving lights
  • A wiring harness for driving lights (relay + ugly switch)
  • A wiring harness for the fog lights (i didn't use, just plugged into factory)
  • Ironman goody back with hats, stickers, drink holders

Instructions
I'm going to be real - they are useless. You'd be better off watching videos for ARB. The most helpful thing would have been a list of fasteners and recommended torque specs, and better photos. I watched a bunch of bull bar installation videos and got the gist.

More importantly - the included cut template is for a Toyota — and is worthless for an LX. Don't even bother.

What you'll need
It feels like I used every basic tool that I had at least once, but here's what was most helpful:

  • A multi-tool and 180° blade for cutting bumper skin and wheel liners
  • A step bit for drilling a couple of rather large holes
  • Spray paint to rust-proof your holes
  • Marine-grade heat shrink and connectors
  • A heat gun
  • Bulb trim — the pinch weld that comes with the bumper is very low quality
  • Ratcheting wrenches - there are some hard to reach places
  • Angle grinder with cutoff wheel — or equivalent dremel etc

Prep
Because I'm a novice - I did a lot of homework and prep ahead of time. I new it would take me two weekends so the first weekend I tried to plan ahead and do as much pre-wiring as possible. The first chunk of work on the truck:
  • Removed the fog lights (in my case, I had baja design SAE squadrons
  • Disconnect and pop out parking sensors
  • Disconnect headlight washers — pinch the line or wear a gallon of fluid like I did
  • Wire relay for driving lights — the kit basically does all the work. You just need to mount it (I mounted mine to my slee compressor bracket) and run the switch wire through the passage way to the firewall. The relay needs power and the switch need ignition signal — I just wired mine hot because I'm lazy
  • Disconnect front camera
Next best thing to do is remove the bumper from the truck.

  • Remove your radiator shroud if you have one
  • Remove 4 clips along top and one 10mm bolt
  • Remove the torx bolts in each wheel liner
  • Remove the plastic "wings" that are between your skids and wheel wells
  • Pull the grill off by yanking firm but gently
  • Remove 3 more clips for bumper skin once grill is off
  • Start peeling clips for the bumper skin - its easiest to start at the wheel well.
  • Remove the absorption foam
  • Remove the aluminum crash bar (3 bolts)
  • Remove the mount that holds the crash bar (4 bolts)
  • Remove your tow hooks

If you are following along - we're here:

IMG_0238.jpeg


Cradle mounting and first round of cutting
The ironman bumper is a two piece design — there is a winch cradle that mounts to the frame horns, and the winch mounts to that, then the bull bar mounts to the cradle. In order to make the cradle fit, you need to cut the shroud on the right — and I removed the one on the driver side completely.

Once you do that the cradle bolts up. There is a clevis nut that slides into the frame (the threaded holes point toward outer edge of vehicle) and very long bolts. Slide the cradle in place and bolt up using factory hardware + the bolts for the clevis. You can bolt your tow hooks to the bottom.

The bar in the middle is the grill support and it has to go if you plan on running a winch. The winch will fit fine - but the cover would block your access to the clutch:

IMG_0242.jpeg


You can unbolt the whole grill support — but I was worried that doing so would make the headlights wobble (notice that the bottom corner of the light bolts to the grill support. So I instead opted to just cut the middle out, giving the headlights something to mount to. There is no point in saving anything but where the headlights bolt to — it will just get in your way.

Here's the first cut:

IMG_0259.jpeg


I don't have ea close up photo - but eventually my buddy and I removed most of that material.

Bumper prep
There were a number of things I did while the bumper was on the ground that would be a pain while on the truck:
  • I drilled holes for parking sensors using a step bit. Installation was pretty painless, just slip them in
  • I installed the driving lights
  • Drilled holes for winch control pack
  • Installed upgraded LED fogs (base bumper comes with halogen)

Dry fit
IMG_0260.jpeg


The bumper will easily slide onto the cradle and sit unsupported — but it's definitely a two person job. An engine hoist would make this ideal. There is about an 1" of horizontal and vertical adjustment in the bumper. My buddy and I started as high and as tucked as possible to start.

It took a little more trimming here of that cooler shroud on the radiator + grill support to get everything out of the way.

Bumper cut
Before locking in the bumper fit - we wanted to see what kind of cuts would be required. The first cut was to lop everything below the grill and parking sensors off. A multi-tool makes it really easy. After that it's trial an error of re-fitting, and re-cutting.

Its important that you leave 25-40 millimeters of clearance between your bumper skin and bumper our you are going to have a bad time. Getting the fit took hours of trial an error. I wish I could give you a magic formula — but there just isnt one.

In general your cut will be just below the headlight washers and go across. You will not have much material under the grill either. What helped was running long lines of continuous tape and making lines. We also used a set of calipers to scribe a consistent line to make sure we where even.

Despite my buddy and I being careful - we still ended up with a bigger gap under the headlight washers than we had light — but the bulb trim is pretty forgiving and hides mistakes well.

Seriously - take your time on this.

Locking it in with pin bolts
Once you have adjusted and cut — you lock in your bumper fit by drilling two big ass holes in both the bumper and the cradle for some M12 bolts. Despite multiple rounds of measuring, I'm off by 1/8" - 1/4" side to side. If it really bothered me I could drill new holes - but it doesn't.

Getting the pin bolts in is a gigantic pain because there is a reinforcement panel on the back side. What we did is secure the bumper in the adjustment holes with one bolt, then locked in the bottom pin bolt. Remove the adjustment bolt, then do the top pin bolt.

There isn't alot of room to get a ratchet in there. We used a pair of needle nose vice grips to get nuts in place, then ratchet on the nut side. This took like an hour because its so easy to knock your bumper out of adjustment. This is where a hoist would help out.

Trimming it out

Once you lock in the bumper you can get your bumper skin (with bulb trim) locked back into place. Don't forget your headlight washers. Once the grill was in place I started cleaning up all of the wires for fogs, parking sensors, washers, and driving lights with zip ties and careful routing.

Once that is done, you can put your skids on. The main bash plate ties into your factory skids. There are 3 spacers in the hardware bag + longer 12mm bolts that replace the 3 front bolts in your skids. The spacers keep from distorting the bash plate. The rest of the skid bolts + wings are all 12 mm.

At this point I also zipped off my fender liners and used the factory torx screw and just drilled new hold.

Overall I probably spend 20-30 hours on this (with help from a friend). I'm sure a more experienced wrencher could do it quicker — but glad I took my time.
 

tbisaacs

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Oh, forgot the lights!

The bumper comes with really nice three way LEDs wired for parking lights, DRL, and turn signals. 3 wires on the back plus ground.

I used scotchlock connectors to tap my turn signals — once you have the bumper off they are very easy to access at the bottom of the headlight. I grounded with a sheetmetal screw on the body and tapped the yellow turn signal wire.

For parking lights, I again used a scotchlock connector but this time on the parking light in the high beam housing.

I have not wired up DRL yet. The lights even function as normal with my Smartap flasher:

IMG_0273.jpeg
 

tbisaacs

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
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So what’s it weigh?
and congrats :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :clap:
what do you reckon the bananas are?

ironman says ~ 150 pounds for bumper. Winch is probably 90, lights are a couple of pounds. You could probably save some pounds by not bolting up wing plates but at this point it’s not going to save much.

This is easily the most complicated thing I’ve done. Not because it was hard, but just a lot of prep, steps, hardware, and the stress of cutting body panels.

Anybody could do it with prep. I’d give it 🍌🍌🍌
 
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Awesome work, your rig looks great! Can we snag some of your pics for the Ironman website? Or to show give folks direction as to how good their rigs can look with our kit? Lemme know. Cheers! John
 

tbisaacs

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Awesome work, your rig looks great! Can we snag some of your pics for the Ironman website? Or to show give folks direction as to how good their rigs can look with our kit? Lemme know. Cheers! John

DM incoming
 
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Nice, my wife got me the no loop bumper for our 16 LC, a buddy and me installed today took a good 6 hours. He was able to solder daytime lights and blinkers. Question how do you like your winch? Any reason that one over the ironman one that are on sale currently?
 

tbisaacs

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
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Nice, my wife got me the no loop bumper for our 16 LC, a buddy and me installed today took a good 6 hours. He was able to solder daytime lights and blinkers. Question how do you like your winch? Any reason that one over the ironman one that are on sale currently?

I really like the winch. I considered the Ironman but the specs on the Apex are a lot better. I also had a 25% off coupon and paid right at $500 for it. I used it to yank a stuck Subaru out of ditch on a steep, snowy forest road and it worked great. The, build quality, line speed and features are impressive for the price.

The Apex does barely fit though. For example the mounting plate to relocate the control box is about 1/4” deeper than the bumper.
 

tbisaacs

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What did you do with the squadrons? Were they too large for the fog light slot the IronMan bumper comes with?

Sitting on my work bench laughing at me. There is no way they will work without significant modification.

The BD lights are smaller in diameter than the IM fogs but 2x deeper. In order for them to look right you'd need to push them way back in the fog light pocket. But their length prevents that.

Even if you push the light as far back as it can go in the pocket, it still hangs out.

90754F44-D7A3-46E4-AA53-EEC387A47F9D.jpeg



1DE9DE46-A444-444A-B803-D973ADA28609.jpeg
 

tbisaacs

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